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Masters 2024: Round 1 Winners and Losers at Augusta National

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Masters 2024: Round 1 Winners and Losers at Augusta National

Only 62 of the 89 players in this year’s Masters Tournament field were able to finish their opening round. That is because a heavy rainstorm came through Augusta National late Wednesday into Thursday.

Tee times were then pushed back and even after the rain subsided, windy conditions remained. Consistent wind speeds of 20 miles per hour, with gusts up to 30 made their way in every direction.

That left players scrambling, particularly as the day progressed. Tiger Woods would go so far to call the conditions some of the most tricky he has ever encountered at Augusta National.

Despite 27 players still left to finish their first round, we felt it prudent to dive into the Masters Day 1 winners and losers.

Scottie Scheffler is easily the biggest winner Thursday.

Not only did he record a fantastic 6-under 66, but he did so without recording a bogey on the card once again. That’s become a common theme for the World No. 1 these days. It is quite uncanny.

Scottie Scheffler's bunker shot on No. 12 finds the hole for birdie. #themasters pic.twitter.com/urr9NMj8gV— The Masters (@TheMasters)

Scheffler drove the ball incredibly well, finding all but two fairways. Beyond that, from tee-to-green, the big Texan once again lapped the field.

He gained 6.42 strokes on the field in that regard. He finished in the plus putting, picking up 0.62 strokes on the field. If that improves over the next three days, the tournament is likely all but over.

He will enter Friday one shot off Bryson DeChambeau’s lead.

The Saudi-funded rival to the PGA Tour is also a big winner after the first round.

Bryson DeChambeau leads the field after posting a 7-under 65. He raced out to the front and if not for Scheffler, would hold a commanding lead.

But even beyond him, there are three other members of LIV who are currently in the top 10 at Augusta National.

Tyrrell Hatton, LIV’s most recent acquisition, is 3-under as he’ll tackle the par-5 15th when play resumes Friday. Joaquin Niemann, probably the hottest player in the world not named Scheffler, continued his torrid stretch carding a 2-under 70.

Tied with him is Patrick Reed. The former Masters champion quietly played very well despite the lack of coverage.

Cameron Smith, Sergio Garcia and Brooks Koepka are all at even par or better as well.

It is a really strong start for LIV Golf.

The aforementioned Woods finishes out our list of Day 1 winners.

You can easily claim he belongs on the other side of this list. After all, he now has to play 23 holes Friday. That will not be easy.

But I believe the good outweighed the bad.

It is hard to claim there is pressure on a 48-year-old coming off injury and illness, but there is indeed pressure on Woods.

For one, he is looking to break a tie with Fred Couples and Gary Player with the most consecutive cuts in Masters history with 24.

But Tiger doesn’t play to make cuts. He plays to win. Woods said so himself claiming he has one more in him earlier this week.

Despite playing in the windy conditions, through his 13 holes, Tiger is 1-under. He is striping the ball off the tee and appears to moving around just fine. Even during his prime years, he typically played Thursday conservatively.

Before he can contend this weekend though, Woods needs to show he can play consistently well. Thursday was the first indicator that he might be able to do that.

The Canadian, Nick Taylor, highlights our list of Day 1 losers. He is coming off a career year in 2023 and even snapped the Canadian Open curse, becoming the first native in 69 years to win their local tournament.

But Thursday was quite tumultuous.

After an up-and-down front nine, Taylor carded five bogeys on the back including his final three holes. He’ll enter his second round 5-over par and will need a very strong round in wild winds Friday to even make the cut.

As someone that many people thought could be a dark horse, this was far from an expected performance.

Hideki Matsuyama, the Japanese star, came into The Masters playing very well.

He impressively won the Genesis Invitational going away last month. He followed that up with a T12, T6 and T7 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Players Championship and the Valero Texas Open, respectively.

It was thought the former Masters champion might contend. Following a 4-over 76 Thursday, that does not appear to be the case.

Sadly, this will not be the tournament that Rickie Fowler breaks through and wins his first major championship after carding a 4-over 76. He did that during the easier window of play Thursday also.

It is even hard to claim he fell victim to the Masters Par-3 curse. He won the prestigious event Wednesday and everyone knows that no one who won Wednesday, has gone on to win Sunday.

But Fowler’s game has fallen apart in 2024.

After a resurgent 2023 that saw him snap his drought and win the Travelers Championship, Fowler has missed three of nine cuts this year. His best finish among the other six was finishing tied for 35th at Genesis.

All signs point to Fowler leaving Augusta early, yet again.

Kendall Capps is the Senior Editor of SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social media platforms.

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